Informatics, TU Vienna

Responsible Research and Innovation in EU projects: ICT for societal challenges

Realising the principle of 'stakeholder engagement' in practice


In my talk I will give a brief introduction to the growing international research and policy agenda 'Responsible Research and Innovation' (RRI) that has been particularly prominent in EU funding policy. My thematic focus will be on the RRI principle of 'stakeholder engagement', and I will explore and problematize the realisation of this principle in practice. My empirical data consists of semi-structured interviews with EU project participants, and the analysis of formal documents such as, project reports to the EU. The projects were funded under the FP7 'Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme' (running from 2007-2013), in particular the 'Policy Support Programme' (PSP). This programme funded consortia testing and promoting new ICT products and
services across various EU member countries. ICT were meant to help tackling a range of so-called societal challenges such as, the protection of the environment or the provision of healthcare. These complex goals, the fact that many projects had to conduct local pilot studies, and the heterogeneity of project consortia are three aspects among various others that I will discuss and problematize when pointing to the difficulties in realising stakeholder engagement in practice. My findings will lead me to question the RRI agenda (for EU projects, and potentially other international projects), without dismissing it completely though. Instead, I shall suggest that by including self-reflection in RRI policy, that is, by asking RRI proponents to apply the RRI principles of 'reflexivity' and 'responsiveness' to their own discourse and (political) practice, a context-sensitive understanding of existing, evolving and potentially missing responsible practices in the design and use of ICT may be developed together with project participants.


Barbara Grimpe holds a PhD in Sociology and has conducted qualitative social research (including ethnographic fieldwork, qualitative interviews, and discourse analysis) into various domains. She is basically interested in combining cultural sociology with science & technology studies. Her current research focus is on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and governance.


This talk is part of the IGW lunchtime scientific series and the Institute for Design and Assessment of Technology.